50 Claus Lundekvam (Southampton)
Saints boss Gordon Strachan paid this glowing tribute to the one-paced Scandinavian in 2003: “He was carried off at Leicester and someone asked me if he was unconscious. I didn’t have a clue. That’s what he’s always like.”
49 Massimo Taibi (Manchester United)
United’s worst keeper ever – in a competitive field featuring Mark Bosnich. The Italian takes the prize for that dive over a shot from Matt Le Tissier, an all-time You Tube favourite.
48 Stephane Guiv’arch (Newcastle)
Milburn, Macdonald, Shearer and ... Guiv’arch! The World Cup winner never came close to that pantheon. Come to that, he’s lagging in Tyneside’s Hall of Centre-Forward Fame (they could call it Striker Grove) behind Cunningham, Mirandinha and Ameobi.
47 Jody Morris (Chelsea, Leeds)
Grew up at Chelsea with Dennis Wise as his mentor, and turned into the snidey kid brother everyone hates. Had all of Wise’s sly tendencies and penchant for a scrape, but none of the skill. Perfect acquisition for Leeds in 2003, then.
46 Nigel Quashie (QPR, Forest, Southampton, WBA and more)
Relegated four times with four clubs – and only narrowly avoided No 5 with West Ham last year.
45 Roque Junior (Leeds)
The execrable Brazilian arrived on loan for a few months from AC Milan in 2003, and did as much as anybody to shove Leeds towards destruction.
44 Sergei Rebrov (Tottenham)
Looked good enough playing alongside Andriy Shevchenko for Dynamo Kiev. Sadly, Glenn Hoddle’s £11m signing never looked the same force with Steffen Iversen.
43 David May (Blackburn, Man United)
The guy picked up Premiership winner’s medals with two clubs. But so did Larry Lloyd.
42 Larry Lloyd (Liverpool, Nottingham Forest)
See David May (No 43)
41 Bosko Balaban (Aston Villa)
They said Deadly Doug was tight, but you can hardly blame him after Ellis fished £6m out of his humbug tin for John Gregory to spend, and the manager came back with the elusive Croatian. He never started a Premiership game and scored no goals.
40 Carlton Palmer (Southampton)
“He covers every blade of grass out there,” said Saints manager, Dave Jones. “But that’s only because his first touch is so crap.”
39 Claudio Marangoni (Sunderland)
The striker swapped the rolling pampas of Argentina for Wearside when he signed for a club-record £320,000 at Christmas 1979. One year and three goals later he went back home. Only Geordies were sorry to see him go.
38 Glenn Keeley (Everton)
Arrived on loan from Blackburn keen to show his mettle at the highest level. On debut in 1982, against Liverpool no less, he was sent off in the first-half, The Reds won 5-0 and he never played for Everton again.
37 Marco Materazzi (Everton)
Yes, he won the World Cup with Italy. But the lean centre-half couldn’t tackle a Sayers’ steak and kidney pie during his pointless spell at Goodison.
36 John Jensen (Arsenal)
Empires rose and fell in the time it took the bubble-permed Dane to score his first Arsenal goal. Searing pace, an eye for goal and a fierce shot were just three qualities he didn’t have.
35 Dean Austin (Tottenham)
The wafer-thin defender earned the wrath of the notoriously fickle Spurs support early doors, and never won them round. Even now, he featured strongly in a straw poll of Tottenhamites’ least favourite player ever to wear the white.
34 Ramon Vega (Tottenham)
The big Swiss was Dean Austin, with (cow) bells on.
33 Alberto Tarantini (Birmingham City)
Jim Smith went down the Spurs road and hired himself an Argentinian World Cup winner in the afterglow of 1978, but the Bald Eagle chose this dud left-back. Blues were relegated.
32 Gary Sprake (Leeds)
The Kop serenaded the hapless Welshman with “Careless Hands” when he threw another one into the back of his own net, hardly a unique moment for the accident-prone Inspector Clouseau of international goalkeeping.
31 Charlie Nicholas (Arsenal)
The much-hyped Champagne Charlie didn’t even amount to Pomagne Charlie at Highbury.
30 Darren Ferguson (Manchester United)
Tried to make a name for himself at Old Trafford in the early 90s, but it was already taken.
29 Winston Bogarde (Chelsea)
For all the good this expensive, non-playing flop ever did Chelsea, they might as well have signed foppish character actor, Dirk Bogarde. Or maybe they did and tried to cover it up.
28 Iain Dowie (West Ham)
Headlines that were never written: “It’s Iain Wow-ie!”, and maybe “Dow ya think I’m sexy.”
27 Eric Djemba-Djemba (Man United, Aston Villa)
One Djemba would have been bad enough, but two of them was more than plenty.
26 Frank Sinclair (Leicester City)
Whatever the opposite of a purple patch is, Frank ‘Spencer’ Sinclair had one in August 1999. In two matches in August he scored two risible own goals, single-handedly costing his team three points. That month of mishaps alone earns him a place in the annals of infamy.
25 Steve Marlet (Fulham)
Mr Fayed didn’t rise to the top in business by not knowing the value of a pound. So mystery remains why he was persuaded to give Lyons eleven and a half mill for the misfit striker. Marlet’s ghost will haunt him to the end of his days.
24 Mark Dennis (Birmingham City)
There were rumours in the game that Dennis could actually play, and possessed a decent enough left foot. But the Blues’ anti-footballer was content to amass the game’s blackest rap sheet.
23 Torben Piechnik (Liverpool)
Graeme Souness faces the bad transfer tribunal again for the inexplicable purchase of the dithering Dane. English football was no picnic for Piechnik and he slunk back to Denmark in short order.
22 John Fashanu (Wimbledon)
Fash elbows his way into the list for a legion of crimes and misdemeanours inflicted on association football in the dubious cause of Wimbledon FC, topped by the assault which shattered Saint Gary Mabbutt’s eye socket.
21 Nikola Jovanovic (Manchester United)
Third-worst United centre-half of all time (see nos 5 and 6).
20 Jason Lee (Nottingham Forest)
“He’s got a pineapple on his head,” crooned fans all over the land in homage to the dreadlocked striker, who couldn’t hit a ruminant’s posterior with a stringed musical instrument.
19 Marco Boogers (West Ham)
He made his mark on English football, but only on Gary Neville’s midriff as a murderous tackle almost wiped out the United right-back. It was all downhill from there, as Mad Marco fled East London for a caravan park somewhere in the Low Countries.
18 Martin Jol (West Brom)
The Dutchman was away from school the day they taught the sophisticated tenets of Total Football, and the no-nonsense midfielder went on to spread mayhem across the midfields of England.
17 Nicky Summerbee (Manchester City)
The mid-90s City ‘winger’ earns his place on account of his singular running style. Arse stuck out in the fashion of a cartoon Mick Jagger, in Manchester derbies he made the ungainly Phil Neville look like Nijinsky.
16 Chris Kamara (Leeds)
For more than two decades Kammy has sported the perma-frizzed coiff of a 60s soul legend, but it failed to distract from a playing style long on effort, short on elegance.
15 Ade Akinbiyi (Leicester City)
Big Ade’s combined career transfer value would dwarf the national debt of an especially ****less banana republic, but he couldn’t buy a goal at Filbert Street after signing in 2000.
14 Micky Droy (Chelsea)
Nouveau Chelsea fans should know that their s****y club’s DNA contains the traces of lumbering 1970s dinosaurs such as Big Micky.
13 Steve Daley (Manchester City)
The poor bloke suffered from one of Man City’s periodic bouts of madness when they insisted on paying Wolves a record £1.45m for him in 1979, back in the days when £1.45m was £1.45m. He never looked close to matching the valuation.
12 Terry Hurlock (Millwall)
Graced Cold Blow Lane during The Lions’ unlikely late 80s spell in the top flight, and unleashed a short-lived reign of midfield terror. Hurlock, a one-man disciplinary crime wave, remains, unsurprisingly, a cult hero in Millwall-supporting enclaves of south London.
11 Billy Woof (Middlesbrough)
Even three decades down the road Boro fans are still convinced Billy only ever got a game because he was the son-in-law of John Neal, the manager.
10 Vinnie Jones (Wimbledon and more)
Told Kenny Dalglish he intended to bite off his ear and spit in the whole. And they said there were no characters left in the game.
9 Ian Ormondroyd (Aston Villa)
Nature’s prototype for Peter Crouch lived at the same lofty altitudes as his Villa Park successor, but perhaps lacked his touch and speed – so why did he play on the wing?
8 Andrea Silenzi (Nottingham Forest)
The Italian who looked much like a horse turned out to be a load of pony at the City Ground after his multi-billion lira move from Torino in 1995, and pips Justin Fashanu as Forest’s greatest transfer rick ever.
7 Li Wei-Feng (Everton)
Arrived as part of the same strange deal which brought the not-too-bad Li Tie to Goodison in 2002. Why? Perhaps he came free, like the prawn crackers we get in our Chinese takeaway when we spend more than a tenner.
6 William Prunier (Man United)
The baldy Bordeaux triallist starred in a calamitous 4-1 defeat at Spurs on New Year’s Day 1996, and he was bundled back onto a plane to France the next day.
5 Arnold Sidebottom (Man United)
Ryan’s dad also bowled quickly for England, but the centre-half injected no discernible pace to the worst United team since records began.
4 Istvan Kozma (Liverpool)
Yet another Souness master signing – the abject Magyar cost £300,000 from Dunfermline in 1992 and played just three games for the Reds before Souey realised he’d made one more transfer goulash.
3 Gus Caesar (Arsenal)
“... painfully, obviously, out of his depth ... he looked like a rabbit frozen to the spot ... and then he starts to thrash about, horribly and pitifully...” not our words – those of ultra-loyal Arsenalist, Nick Hornby.
2 Tomas Brolin (Leeds, Crystal Palace)
Hard to imagine that Leeds United, normally a model of fiscal probity, paid £4.5m for the Swedish meatball in 1995. A good footballer treats his body like a temple. Brolin’s was a bouncy castle.
1 Ali Dia (Southampton)
Was he George Weah’s cousin? Was he hell! Neither had the impostor won 12 caps for Senegal, nor had he played for Paris St Germain. But it took Saints boss Graeme Souness a whole 52 minutes to suss he’d been had in 1996.
Who thinks Titus Bramble & Jean-Alain Boumsong deserve to be mentioned?